I love villains. I think villains, if written well, are some of the very best parts of any story. When I first began watching anime, I was introduced to many evil-doers who utterly blew my mind with their complex motives, or simple-minded intentions. Some of the greatest conversations that I have had with my friends revolve around characters that everyone hates because of how completely terrible they are as people.
After recently having such a conversation with a close buddy of mine, I thought it would fun to shine some light upon a few of the villains that I positively adore! My reasons for loving them vary from their complex, multidimensional backstories and personas, to their unbelievably awesome comedic value, how unbelievably malevolent they are, and there are even a couple that I admire because they are beautiful; just the best kind of eye candy around.
So, grab a beverage, a few snacks and check out my list of badass villains to die for! They are ordered from least loved to positively obsessed!
** Please note: mild spoilers may apply! **
Barry the Chopper
Barry the Chopper is a character from the manga/anime series Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. In the series, he was a butcher who became fed up with chopping up cows and pigs and began to chop up humans instead. He was a very vile and disturbing person. When he was caught, he was publicly executed. However, he was never truly killed. Instead, he was taken into a laboratory where scientists conducted alchemical experiments on him, all of which ultimately led to his soul being bound to a suit of armour.
I love Barry because he is fricking hilarious! Every time he is on-screen, I laugh out loud and really enjoy his presence. Yes, he has a passion for chopping people up, the same way that Naruto loves ramen, yet regardless of that minor little detail, Barry comes off as being the best friend you turn to when you really need a pick-me-up in life. He feels genuine joy and excitement whenever he comes across people he admires. He is also someone that other people can fangirl with. For example, when one of the minor characters finally gets a girlfriend, Barry is just as enthusiastic as him and they celebrate together. Barry’s flamboyant, fervent personality makes him so delightfully loveable and he shall be a favourite of mine for many more years to come.
When I watched the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods film, I had no idea that I would walk away from that with a new favourite villain. Beerus is everything I love/can relate to wrapped into one, petite package of badassry. He looks like Anubis, he is a cat in every aspect of his persona, he is a huge foodie, he has anger issues (usually relating to being hangry), he is one hell of a fighter, and HE SMACKED THE SHIT OUT OF BULMA! Yes, thank you so much Beerus-sama!
He comes to Earth looking for food. But when one of his desserts is eaten in their entirety by another character, Beerus gets pissed off and decides to destroy the planet. It is all so nonchalant and matter-of-fact that it had me laughing so much. In that moment, I saw a piece of my self staring back at me. I love food. I do not fuck around when it comes to food, especially sweets, and on top of that I suck at sharing. Poor Sir Betrothed can attest to this! If someone ate my tasty dessert, I would kick their ass too.
Aside from his hangry shenanigans, I thoroughly enjoy his contribution to the DBZ universe. Beerus’ persona is unlike any of the other characters. He is charming, a fantastic fucking fighter, and adds a special type of humour that helps to keep the series from feeling stale and repetitive. Did I mention that he is also a God? And a cat? And he smacked Bulma, whom I loathe?
I started reading the Naruto manga many years ago. Unfortunately, I never got around to finishing it (something I hope to do later this year or next year), but I distinctly remember the impression that Orochimaru left on me. At first, he grossed me the fuck out. Snakes have always creeped me out and fascinated me simultaneously. So, that immediately drew me towards him. Then as I read more about him, his origins, and all the atrocities that he had committed, I had slowly begun to develop a deep-rooted admiration for him. One of the things that tend to make me obsessed with villains are how they grow to become the monsters that they are known as. The more sadistic and twisted they are, the higher the chance that I will latch on to them like a leech. Orochimaru is no exception.
Orochimaru is one of the most sadistic villains in the entire Naruto franchise. He kills without remorse or hesitation, has no concept of empathy, is mind-blowingly brilliant, a mad scientist, an astounding warrior, and is obsessed with immortality. Every single one of these elements, except for his brilliance, stems from two simple human emotions: grief and loneliness. In the series, he learns the lesson of loss very early on, and then proceeds to watch how grief affects every single person around him. Since he was never able to feel loss like others, he grew to loathe it, as well as human fragility in its entirety. I always found this funny because as much as he hated human fragility, everything he did was a means of testing it while he searched for immortality. It reminds me of my fear and distaste of snakes. I do not like them, yet I cannot help but want to learn more about them. It is my way of trying to understand something that creates a strong negative reaction/feeling within me. Orochimaru really is not any different in that regard.
Recently, I have been re-watching Inuyasha and the experience was has been very contemplative for me towards the anime medium as a whole. I wrote a blog post about it, which you can read here. One of the things that I have been thinking about a lot are villains and their representation of basic human emotions. Naraku is an excellent example.
In the series, he sacrifices his human flesh to demons to obtain ultimate power, while simultaneously searching for the shards of a Shikon jewel, which should theoretically give him the power he seeks. His biggest obstacles are Inuyasha and Inuyasha’s merry band of buddies. The humanity that Naraku sacrifices was entwined with deep-rooted affections for a character named Kikyo. These affections are something that Naraku struggles with constantly.
Naraku is a grade-A example of what happens to people who cannot accept rejection. Kikyo spurned his love, so he sacrificed himself with the hopes of becoming strong enough to make her love him. The alternative would be to destroy her and the person the she loves in turn. Through the entire 8 seasons of the series that is what he focuses on fully. Her rejection turns him into a bitter and malevolent person who is hell-bent on spreading hatred and pain to every single person that he meets. We see this with the characters Sango and Kohaku, as well as Kagura and Kanno. Yet, whenever Naraku has the chance to destroy Kikyo, his humanity (i.e.: his love for her) stays his hand, and so he desperately tries to dispel himself of that as well. These qualities make him a fantastic villain; a genuine and simple fool who cannot process nor accept the ache of a broken heart, so he seeks to destroy everything that makes him feel human.
I also LOVE his super long hair. I’m such a sucker for long, beautiful hair!
Shōgo Makishima is my number one favourite villain of all-time, aside from Sephiroth of course. In the anime Psycho-Pass, he is a firm believer that Japanese society should be liberated from the control of the Sibyl System, allowing the people to think for themselves without being dictated on how to live, as being a follower is not living. He propagates for independent thinking in humans, and he is willing to go whatever lengths possible to prove its vitality.
Makishima has very honourable motives and makes compelling arguments against a society that lives by a technologically dominated type of fascist belief system. His astounding brilliance and rebellious contemplative nature were the first attractions for me towards his character. Then I discovered that he is a lover of books and the written word, which he strongly believes is the best way for people to hone their insight towards becoming self-aware again. But the dangerous ways that he imparts his lessons onto Japanese society and his overall capability for “beating the system,” as well as continuously testing its limits, are what make him a criminal and a villain. Lastly, he is also very sexy and handsome. I cannot resist brilliant anime boys with white hair and murderly intentions.
Those are my current favourites for villainy characters in anime! I know that this list will grow a lot more as I watch more and more anime, which I am very excited for! Who are some of your all-time favourite villains from anime?